1) What makes you pro-choice?
I am pro-choice because women’s rights are human rights, and abortion is a woman’s right. I’ve thought plenty about the pro-life movement and what it means to believe that a potential baby’s life is more important and real than the life of the woman carrying that fetus. I really just can’t understand that, though. How could anyone look at a human being and say to them, your life is less important than someone who isn’t even born yet? It’s like saying your experiences, your autonomy, all the events and places and people you love that make you YOU, those don’t matter anymore, your whole life is owned by someone else now. And it’s not the baby that owns your life–although if you decide to keep it and raise it that’s a huge sacrifice–it’s the people who make the laws that own your life. It’s these shadowy figures that work in the government who decide your life all of a sudden, who force you to be a parent or make you jump through hoops to avoid a life you know you don’t want. It’s oppressive, it’s frightening, and it violates the basic human right that YOU control your body. I am pro-choice because I will fight to make sure that the rights of women and people with vaginas are always protected from the people who want to take them away.
I got involved with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia because I was already involved with William and Mary’s Voices for Planned Parenthood club (VOX) and I’m always looking for new channels through which I can exercise my activism. When I came to college a year ago, I immediately fell in with VOX and the other feminists on campus, so when I heard about a NARAL Pro-Choice VA leadership conference, I applied to bring the information back to VOX. Not only was the instruction at the conference really helpful, but the people who worked with us and were incredibly passionate and involved. I could tell that they were really looking to us to take what they were saying and run with it, so I did just that. VOX already had goals of pro-choice activism and sexual health education on campus, and working with NARAL gave me the resources and structure I needed to make concrete events happen.
My favorite NARAL Pro-Choice VA event was a Google Hangout in which me and a couple other VOX exec members talked to Julia Smart and other NARAL reps about abortion conversations. We addressed how to speak to people on a one-on-one level about abortion rights and we also talked about the general public ideas surrounding abortion. One of the big issues we discussed was the stigma surrounding current conversations. Lots of women don’t want to share their stories because they feel ashamed, but that shame will continue to exist until more people start coming forward to share. Because of this Google Hangout conversation, I organized an abortion talk on William and Mary’s campus this year. Students shared their personal stories, anonymous submissions, and the stories that their friends and family volunteered. NARAL was a huge inspiration and aid to me while I was organizing the event with the other VOX members, and I am so grateful for all their assistance.